Today, Governor Neil Abercrombie visited the University of Hawai’i Maui College and toured the site of a proposed food innovation center that would be housed in the college’s former cafeteria. The governor met with administrators and faculty to determine how the center’s proposed facilities would function, to discuss the timeline, and what kinds of products could be produced and how it would benefit students.

The research and development production facility will fill a clear need as no such facility exists on the islands. The proposed center will serve as a research and development production facility to help farmers turn their fresh produce into value-added food products like frozen foods, and dried, preserved or canned goods. With a local production facility excess harvest and slightly damaged crops can be turned into profit as value-added products.

The facility will also increase food security on the islands reducing goods shipped from overseas.

The proposed food innovation center would act as a business incubator for local farmers and entrepreneurs, providing the space and equipment for research, development, and small-scale production of value-added food products. It would also create new opportunities for student education in such areas as product design, nutrition, food safety, and retail food sales and marketing.

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